Thyroid calcification is treated in different ways, depending on the types of thyroid nodules the calcification has caused. Most benign nodules will not require treatment, but will need close monitoring and testing. Nodules that need treatment may require patients to go through thyroid hormone suppression therapy or surgery.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland shaped like a butterfly that is located in the neck, around the trachea and larynx. This gland uses iodine absorbed from food intake to create the T3 and T4 hormones. These two hormones work in conjunction with the hormone calcitonin, also produced by the thyroid, to help regulate the amounts of calcium in the blood. Problems with these three hormones and levels will lead to calcium accumulations.
Thyroid calcification refers to a build up of calcium that can lead to the development of nodules within the thyroid. The hormone imbalance that leads to nodules can be caused by a shortage in iodine that comes from food or conditions that cause an over-productive or under-active thyroid. Some autoimmune disorders, such as Grave’s disease, can result in thyroid problems as well.
Patients with thyroid calcification do not always notice symptoms right away. Also any symptoms may not immediately indicate thyroid hormone troubles, such as anxiety or a heart arrhythmia. It is usually when nodules develop rapidly and become visible or can be felt under the skin that thyroid function tests are given to check hormone levels.
Successful thyroid calcification treatment is dependent on the type of nodules that develop in the thyroid. Nodules can either be benign or malignant. Testing through tissue samples helps doctors diagnose the type of nodule properly.
After diagnosis, a patient with benign thyroid calcification nodules can undergo thyroid hormone suppression therapy if hormones are imbalanced. Radioactive iodine may be used to shrink nodules and reduce troublesome symptoms. For nodules that are malignant, surgical removal followed by chemotherapy treatment is commonly recommended. Surgical removal may also be necessary for benign nodules that impair a patient’s ability to breathe or swallow.
Thyroid calcification is not a common occurring condition. Although it can occur in a person of any age with active thyroid functions, age plays a role in the chances of calcification occurring. The likelihood of developing thyroid nodules increases as a person gets older. Senior citizens are more likely to develop nodules than a child. Children can develop this condition at a young age, particularly when genetic defects or underlying conditions influence the functions of the thyroid.